NYPD plans strategy meeting to deal with growing protests

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- After protests were marred over the weekend by the assault of two police officers, leaders within the NYPD are scheduled to meet Monday to strategize about how to handle the growing demonstrations.

Protesters are rallying against grand jury decisions in Staten Island and Ferguson, Missouri, where two white police officers were not indicted for the deaths of two unarmed black men.

A grand jury in Missouri on Nov. 24 decided to not indict former officer Darren Wilson in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. A week later, a New York grand jury came to the same decision in the case of Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s fatal chokehold of Eric Garner.

And in the weeks that followed, instead of going away, protests against the decisions, decried as racist, are getting stronger. This past weekend, 30,000 demonstrators marched in the streets of New York.

Police in the city are facing an “operational dilemma” in the department’s handling of demonstrators, the majority of whom have been peaceful.

But on Saturday, at least five members of the NYPD were assaulted as protesters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. Top commanders are set to meet Monday to talk strategy going forward.

The next day, police arrested a 29-year-old adjunct professor from CUNY Baruch in connection with the attack.

Police said Eric Linsker allegedly tried to throw a garbage can at a police car then resisted arrest before allegedly kicking an officer in the face, breaking his nose.

His lawyer said his client is innocent.

During the demonstrations, NYPD has taken a hands off approach, mostly monitoring marchers as they block roadways and bridges, making few arrests.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he approves of the strategy but now the police department may be rethinking their tactics, perhaps motivated by a disturbing incident captured on camera over the weekend.

Police officers across the city shared a video that showed a small group of protesters chanting, “What do we want? Dead cops.”

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the largest police union in the country which represents the NYPD, invoked the specter of police deaths, inviting its members to sign a form instructing de Blasio not to attend their funerals in the event they died in the line of duty.

The mayor’s officer called the union’s statement “disappointing.”

Over the last 10 days, police said several supervisors and commanders have been punched by protesters, including a sergeant at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and a deputy inspector in Harlem. In both cases, arrests were made after what the police said were unprovoked attacks.

de Blasio called the eruption of violence “beneath the dignity of New York City.”